Investigators have identified a “Jane Doe” in the larger investigation into remains found on Long Island that include the three victims now attributed to Gilgo Beach murders suspect Rex Heuermann.
Heuermann is charged with the deaths of Megan Waterman, Amber Costello, and Melissa Barthelemy and has been named the prime suspect in the death of Maureen Brainard-Barnes, as CrimeOnline has reported. Their bodies were found on Gilgo Beach in December 2010, wrapped in burlap, and were known collectively as the Gilgo 4.
Seven other bodies were found on Long Island, including a man and a toddler. Suffolk County authorities announced the identity of one of them — Jane Doe No. 7, whose remains were found on Fire Island in 1996 — at a news conference Friday morning.
Suffolk County District Attorney said the victim had been identified as 34-year-old Karen Vergata, who lived in Manhattan and was believed to have been working as an escort when she disappeared on February 14, 1996. Her remains were found in two different locations in 1996, he said, and linked by DNA.
Tierney said investigators positively identified Vergata last October, which was about the same time they were bringing the case of the Gilgo 4 before a grand jury. They decided at that time while they notified her family members and continued the Gilgo 4 investigation.
The district attorney, who took no questions, said there had been no arrests in the Vergata case and declined to comment on “what or if any suspects we have developed.”
Investigators have previously said they believe the many victims found in the area near Gilgo Beach could be the work of at least two killers.
Earlier, Tierney told Newsday that authorities believe they’re close to identifying three other victims in the larger investigation.
“We’re honing in on that, and I think we’ll have information on that — on some of the identifications shortly,” Tierney said.
Those victims are a woman nicknamed “Peaches” because of a tattoo, a toddler found with her, and a man found separately.